City Desk

Fenty, Barry, Weymouth—All in Weekend in Review

First, the retrocast: At last, a little bit of authentic summer weather for the region, though not quite as hot and humid as we've been trained to expect. Good old weather beat writer Martin Weil at the Washington Post is reporting that July thus far has been five degrees cooler than normal. We've already nailed this story, however—right here.

But the big news around town continues to be Marion Barry, the embattled Ward 8 councilmember. We reported on Friday night that Barry's office played a key role in setting up and controlling several nonprofit groups that get money directly from D.C. Council appropriations. News Channel 8 is on it, too.

*Post columnist Bob McCartney gives a look at D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's prospects for reelection, 17.5 months out. There's some tepid analysis here, such as this: "Fenty's image as an engaged, energetic official focused on helping constituents, long one of his most valuable assets, is eroding. It has suffered from a series of mini-scandals, including Fenty's allowing a friend to drive his city-issued SUV in violation of the law, the installation of a $75,000 heater at a public pool that he uses to prepare for his triathlons and having a petty battle with the council over temporarily withholding their tickets to Nationals baseball games." McCartney's columns generally had a little coda, often on a second topic. They're generally more lively and interesting than the main piece. This time, it's a nice little riff on the hypocrisy of those who have said that the Barry shenanigans disqualify D.C. residents from ruling themselves. What about Nevada, McCartney asks.

And sorry to belabor the Post, but we've got to say that this week's column by Ombudsman Andy Alexander marks a coming-out for this fellow. Alexander nailed the whole "salons" scandal at the Post, revealing that tons of people could have and should have and had plenty of information at their hands to have blown the whistle weeks ago. Instead of suffering all that embarrassment after the Politico scoop. Here's an important snippet from the guy's reporting:

on June 24, roughly 200 managers were given a quick explanation of the "salons" idea at the end of a two-hour meeting in the cavernous auditorium on the lobby floor of The Post's downtown headquarters. These periodic "extended staff meetings," often including multiple short presentations, are held to brief managers on corporate strategy, and the details are considered confidential....

In an interview, [Executive Editor Marcus] Brauchli said it was his responsibility to vet the concept and that it is "understandable" that no news managers at the meeting raised a caution.

"When the publisher and the editor both appear to have signed off on an idea, I think it is perhaps true that a certain complacency sets in," he said. For that reason, lower-level managers might be less inclined "to stand up and say: 'Whoa, this is a bad idea.' "

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